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Pujols new contract details absurd, Duncan to step aside

Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012, at 8:38 PM


The small (very liberal use of that term) mountain of money that former Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols chased to the west coast was explained in greater detail.

As is required by Major League Baseball, all contracts in excess of $1 million require approval of both the owners and MLB. This contract exceeded that amount by a dollar or two (sarcasm intended).

My original suggestion on how the Cardinals should structure a deal to retain him, involved a top-loaded deal that would allow the franchise the opportunity to rebuild in his later years. What the Angels offered, and will now be their ball and chain for a decade, was the exact opposite. Frankly, I don't understand.

First, here are the terms of the contract. In 2012, Pujols will earn a whopping $12 million, $16 million in 2013 and $23 million in 2014. Then his salary will increase by $1 million per year until it finally reaches $30 million in 2021, the final year of the contract.

What that means is that in the twilight years of his career, when his production will possibly not be at its best, he will be paid the most of his career. This is great for Albert because of what it will mean to securing his retirement, but for the Angels it is absolutely foolish.

The original report is that Pujols agreed to the back-loaded deal in an effort to make it easier for the Angels to secure C.J. Wilson. Wilson is a good pitcher with promise, but I don't see him as being worth handcuffing your team with a 40+ year old player in the end of his career.

It's possible that Albert will still be Albert at that point in his career, but it's not likely. The most likely scenario is that this contract will net them four to six good years follow by four to six average to below-average years.

The Angels have more than enough new money coming in from their new television contract to cover the deal, but that still doesn't make it smart business sense. The only reason I can see is that they are thinking toward the end of his career is when he will break some of the big records with incentives tied to them. There is also the possibility that they feel that is enough time he will be loved in Anaheim the way he was in St. Louis (meaning he will make them as much as he costs them).

I'm not arguing that the deal isn't a piece of strategic genius, I'm arguing that it's backward. Of course, my opinion will continue to mean diddly-squat unless there's an MLB general manager job begging for me in the future (odds of that happening? 1:954,687,133,842).

Now that I have that off my chest, here is some completely unrelated Cardinals news. The names have finally been released for the Cardinals Caravan that will be coming through the area in the very near future.

The Caravan will make its way through Cape Girardeau on Monday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. The event will be held at the Osage Center and feature Tyler Greene, Pete Kozma, Zack Cox (who will be in next week's top prospects report), Ryan Jackson, John Mabry, Alan Benes and Cal Eldred. Rick Horton will serve as the emcee of the event.

I'm excited about Cox and would like to have Eldred and Horton sign a ball, but other than that, this is not the most exciting caravan lineup we've seen. As my friend Jody Waggoner pointed out tonight, the caravan making its way through Cape is the only one without a player who was on the World Series roster. I guess that's our punishment for having Rasmus and Descalso come last year.

On an unrelated and late breaking note, it has been reported tonight that David Duncan will announce he is "stepping aside" Friday. Presumably, this would mean his wife has taken a turn for the worse, but that is not confirmed. Keep them in your prayers and I will release a full follow-up on Friday evening for Sunday's paper once more information and the official release are available.

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The Angles are likely to win a World Series in the next five seasons.

It's a better deal for Anaheim than St. Louis for a number of reasons.

No. 1 they are in a larger market and have more money to work with.

No. 2 if Pujols signed with any team besides the Cardinals it was going to be easier for the organization to market Pujols' merchandise. Very few fans in Anaheim had a Pujols t-shirt before this year. Not the case in St. Louis.

No. 3 they are in a more competitive market. They are trying to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers and division-rival Texas. St. Louis remains the top team in their division with or without Pujols. The Kansas City Royals rarely field a contender so the Cardinals don't have to worry about losing fans to the Royals.

No. 4 the DH is available in the A.L. It is a factor for the player and the organization.

It's hard to blame Pujols for wanting the most money after the Cardinals threw money at players like Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Matt Holliday. The Cards likely paid too much for these players. Without one of them they could have signed Pujols.

St. Louis also spent too much money to sign shortstop Rafael Furcal. But it was a two-year contract.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 3:01 PM

Let me ask this. If the Angels win one world series title in Pujols 10 years there, is it worth it? I say yes. The bottom line is nobody knows if this is a good deal or not at this point and you won't know until his contract is up. If the Angels start winning championships, then it was a good investment. I'm sure if the Cardinals signed Pujols to this kind of deal then we wouldn't be breaking down how absurd it is.

-- Posted by semohoops on Fri, Jan 6, 2012, at 8:35 AM
Corey Noles
There are some who believe he should have been signed by us at any cost and I made my opinion on that very clear before he ever moved on. I personally think If the Angels stay in contention throughout the life of the contract, that's wonderful for them. I just doubt it will happen. You are correct, we won't be able to rule it good or bad until we see how the Angels and Cardinals play over the next decade and then we'll determine who actually came out ahead. I personally think it will be the Cardinals in the longterm. As you said, only time will tell. I apologize if this came across a little brash. That wasn't the intention at all. Thanks for reading! I enjoy these discussions! CN

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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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